Sometimes, when I’m feeling too lazy to hand chop, I give dinner’s assorted vegetable scraps a quick whiz in the food processor before feeding the gruel to the worms in my kitchen wormery. I liken it to cutting the food on your kids’ plate into sizes that are manageable for their little mouths. I imagine that my worms’ mouths must be really, really tiny.
To be clear, I’m not saying I think of them as children. We’re not that close, really.
Going to the extra effort really is worth it. The worms process what’s in the bin much faster, and we never suffer from unfortunate smells indoors.
Ingredients seen here: Romaine lettuce cores and blackened bits and paper egg cartons that have been pre-softened in water and ripped by hand.
I took this picture of orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus) as the sun was going down over Scotts Head, Dominica, the body of land just behind the flowers and the southern most tip of the island. Do I ever miss those Caribbean sunsets.
I miss the sunrises, too.
Come to think of it, the continuous warmth and greenery wasn’t too shabby either. Let’s go back and get away from this winter business. We’ll do it as a massive group trip. You’ll love it there.
Our recent trip to the Caribbean has inspired in me a renewed enthusiasm for cosmos. It’s not that I’ve fallen out of the love with this tough, yet delicate flower, but that I haven’t made a space to grow it in about five years. Instead, I’ve been admiring them in other peoples’ gardens. I’ve got another photo of cosmos as seen in the Caribbean coming soon that I think will inspire you too.
Amazingly, just as I was starting to contemplate which variety to grow this year, a sample packet of ‘Rose Bon Bon’ double flowered cosmos arrived in the mail from Renee’s Garden. And done. That was too easy.
One of my favourite posts of all-time, dedicated to cosmos: Love to Hate: Cosmos
The pod in this picture is an unripe one — annatto (Bixa orellana) seeds and their pods are a brownish red colour when fully ripe. We caught a glimpse of a few trees with ripe pods while riding on buses in Barbados but I was never able to get up close to pods that were fully mature. It’s a shame really, because a tree full of ripe fruit is a beautiful sight.
I first heard about annatto many years ago in reference to Cuban cooking. In fact, I bought a package of the seeds about 10 years ago and never had occasion to use it. I believe the package is still sitting unopened in my kitchen spice cupboard!
That’s because while the seeds do have a slightly peppery taste and flavour, their use is really more about adding colour to food. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t ever use it because I have since learned that annatto is a common allergen… and I have a lot of allergies.
Annatto makes an excellent cloth or wool dye. I found a good tutorial on the process here.
Hey, guess what? My new book, “Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces” hits stores in less than a week!
To commemorate its impending release, Clarkson Potter has agreed to do a pre-launch giveaway of two copies of the book via twitter.
To enter to win, simply go to The Twitter and follow me: www.twitter.com/@yougrowgirl. (You can skip this step if you are already following @yougrowgirl.)
Next, write out the following and post:
Win a copy of “Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces” by Gayla Trail @yougrowgirl Pls RT. http://tinyurl.com/ybyxsox
I will choose two winners at random on Friday, January, 29 at 9pm EST.
Please note that this contest is only open to addresses in Canada and the Continental USA.
Update: I’ve drawn and announced the winners. Thanks for playing!
Back in August 2009 my friend Laura asked me if I wanted to take a quick jaunt out to the burbs to take some pictures of the Foodcycles farm.
At the time we had just finished putting the finishing touches on the book design and it felt like I hadn’t left my computer in what seemed like forever, give or take a millennium. While I had no idea what Foodcycles was at the time, I agreed enthusiastically to a car ride and a summer evening outdoors communing with something other than my keyboard.
The trip turned out to be a really, really nice surprise and a refreshing, inspiring way to unwind from months of madness. Foodcycles is a working market garden that sits on an acre of land in a former airforce base, right smack in the middle of several busy intersections in North Toronto. Imagine looking out of one of the hi-rise buildings nearby onto a view of a working farm with rows and rows of greenery right alongside strip malls and commuter traffic. If only something like this had existed back when I was a university student doing the daily, miserable bus commute right past this park!
They’ve got a huge greenhouse on site, too, that also houses a beautifully built wormery for composting as well as several raised beds.
This is the wormery in progress.
Foodcycles was inspired by Growing Power, a city farm in Milwaukee that produces produce as well as fish, honey, compost, and more. They’ve come a long way in a year but as a not-for-profit they need help from the community to keep on going. This Thursday, Jan 28, 2010 (6:30-8:30 PM), Foodcycles is hosting a fundraising effort at Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St W) where they will be screening the film Dirt!
They have offered me 2 free tickets to the screening to giveaway here. If you’re in the Toronto area and would like to attend the screening simply post a comment here stating your interest. There’s only a day left so I’ll draw one person for both tickets tomorrow morning (Thursday).